Tornado destroys “the house love built”

KOKOMO, Ind. (WANE) – Kokomo, Indiana suffered significant damage from what the National Weather Service in Indianapolis has preliminarily classified as an EF-2 tornado.

Meteorologist Jesse Hawila was there as Phyllis Rawlins recalls memories of her home destroyed by Sunday’s storms.

“The house love built” is what Phyllis called her Kokomo home.

Monday’s storms took the house love built and left it in rubble. It was built for Phyllis and her kids by her husband who recently lost his life to cancer.

‘We’d been married 42 years,” Phyllis said. “This was our first home. He passed away July 2012, and this is what I had left of him.”

“It was like we lost our dad all over again.,” Phyllis’s son Allen Rollins said. “He built the house with his own hands. He designed it. ”

Phyllis was in Kentucky at the time of the tornado.

When she got the call her home was destroyed, she immediately drove home and couldn’t believe what she saw.

“I was devastated,” Phyllis said.

In the basement of the home, where a car was thrown like a toy, a youth group was having service.

Church members and family friends said Allyson Hensley was trapped under the debris, but luckily only suffered a broken ankle and fractured back.

The clean up continues for the Rawlins family this week as they look for all of the irreplacable items, especially those left by Phyllis’s husband.

“I had my Christmas tree up and they found this for me,” Phyllis said as she held up an ornament with her husband’s picture. “I found all my husbands sermons.”

“We found his American flag from the military service from his funeral,” Allen said. “The number one thing we’re trying to find now is a bag with his wedding band in it.”

While Phyllis may have lost her home and many of her belongings, she said that doesn’t matter to her. She said those things are all replaceable, and she’s just glad and thankful she still has her life and family.

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